Call for papers: McLuhan’s Messages for Contemporary Communication and Media Research

Place: Eötvös Loránd University Institute for Art Theory and Media Studies
Date: November 11-12, 2011.
A series of events will be held in Budapest in 2011 to honor the centenary of Marshall McLuhan’s birth. The participating Budapest institutions are the Ludwig Museum, the Kunsthalle, LABOR, Kitchen Budapest, the Intermedia Department at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts and the Department of Media and Communications (Institute for Art Theory and Media Studies) at Eötvös Loránd University. The series includes projects, exhibitions, discussions, and actions.

The Department of Media and Communications contributes to the series with a conference on “McLuhan’s Messages,” which will explore how relevant McLuhan’s oeuvre is for contemporary media and communication research. In our time, when networking and interactive communication have far surpassed all the sixties’ expectations for the growth of information society, the McLuhanist idea of the global village seems to be an error only in terms of judging the level of intensity of connections between people. The idea is apparently realized on a much higher level today. Or so it seems. For the “melting” of people into the apparatuses producing virtuality is different in the western/northern and in the eastern/southern parts of the globe. While in the former the utopian expectations project the so-called ”angel communication” in the near future, the computer waste coming from the western world causes diseases in the respiratory organs of the men and women in the east who try to extract the metal from the matter in the process of industrial/manual recycling. Even if the new forms of colonization definitely do not stem from McLuhan’s texts, the reflection on the relationship between virtual and material is a terrain not only for postcolonial criticism and environmental studies, but also for communication research. This is why the centenary could be a proper occasion to make McLuhan’s theses confront various theories that have tried to calm the teleological expectations made on the basis of McLuhan’s work (e.g. Raymond Williams’ critique of technological determination; Derrida’s critique of the notion of the “end of writing”; W.J. T. Mitchell’s critique of domesticated prostheses and the age of information, among others). Far from intending to be spoilsports, we hope to make an experiment with this revival of the critical tradition to see the turning point where McLuhan’s more or less ideological discourse may become valid speech for us.

The organizers look forward to the participation of all experts and researchers who think rereading and adapting the works of McLuhan in the changing environment is timely.
Applications :
Please send abstracts for 20-minute papers (200-400 words) to
Download application form from this link: application_form_mcluhan_messages
The conference is organized by :
Associate Professors András Müllner
Ferenc Hammer
Professor Péter György 


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